To the Editor:
On August 10, 2017, it was reported in the Chronicle Herald that a Nova Scotia Ex-Con wants to kill and rape women and that the RCMP are unable to respond to this situation. (http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1493306-nova-scotia-ex-con-threatens-to-kill-rape-women-on-facebook)
This article raises a number of concerns about the laws and enforcement options available to protect women. Although, it is unclear what legal avenues may have been explored in this scenario, it leaves an impression that our justice system lacks an ability to respond to generalized threats to women. As the executive director of Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre, I want to ensure that women know they are not alone, our doors are open and we are here to listen and help in any way we can. Our services empower women and recognize women’s strength and value.
Safety is a key basic human right of all citizens. Threats to this safety impact on the wellbeing of individuals and in this case potentially an entire population of women. Such gendered threats are an indication of the ongoing nature of violence against women in society. Gender inequality leaves women vulnerable to normalizing these kinds of threats which is not acceptable.
For some women these kinds of reports bring back memories of the Montreal Massacre, December 6, 1989 when 14 women were shot dead at a Montreal University for no other reason than their gender. On that day, many women’s groups received ongoing threats echoes of one man’s violent act against many women. Since that time, people of all genders have spoken out against violence against women as neither acceptable nor a normalized act that can it be tolerated. Together we need to continue to stand united and speak together about supports and solutions.
PCWRSAC believes women in Nova Scotia and around the world are citizens with equal rights to safety as a basic human right. These kinds of threats that go without challenge accept violence towards women as a norm and it is neither normal nor acceptable to ignore the safety of women. We urge the legal system to respond including revisions to existing laws if necessary to ensure protection to all members of society.
Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre doors are open Monday- Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to all women who may need a listening ear, support, information, referrals, advocacy and access to programs that empower women. We recognize that women need a place to gather and come together to talk with one and another and support one another in a safe environment. In fact, we have a drop in Coffee and Conversation time each Thursday between 1 and 3 p.m. Our number is 902-755-4647 for those who choice to call to inquire further. Or we can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . For up to date information about our programs and activities follow us on FaceBook and message us with any questions.
Shelley Curtis Thompson
Executive Director, Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre